US launches air strike in Libya, targeting al-Qaida associate

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WASHINGTON: American warplanes launched a weekend air strike in Libya targeting Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a mercurial smuggler and kidnapper associated with al-Qaida, US military officials said Sunday. Officials were assessing the results of the strike, which took place Saturday night. But local news outlets quoted members of Libya’s internationally recognized government as saying that Belmokhtar had been killed. He is believed to be the architect of a deadly 2013 hostage attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria. The French government had nicknamed the Algerian militant “the Uncatchable.”

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